Sony Pictures Television

Redd Foxx's connection to Sanford and Son went beyond acting

What's in a name? That's a question that can be answered based on many factors. Connections may vary, especially when it comes to character names. Yet, the interrelation is quite unique in the case of Redd Foxx and his Sanford and Son character. The actor's name was all over the series, and not just because he was the show's star.

If you weren't aware, Foxx's real name is John Elroy Sanford. That's right, he was a Sanford in real life. The first name of his character is "Fred," which just happened to be the name of Foxx's brother, who died in 1963. We all know that on the show, Fred has a son named "Lamont," and that was the name of Foxx's friend, a theatre manager in Chicago. That friend played a vital role in the actor's life when he ran away from home as a teenager during the Depression.

It could've all been a coincidence, but that connection between Foxx's personal life and the show is one of the reasons why he could play himself in the role.

He deserved a lot of credit for making the show popular, but it was something he continuously had to fight to get. "I asked 'em to give me some credit. We have new producers; I guess they didn't want to go through the same old stuff like before," Foxx said during an interview with the Knight Newswire in 1975. "I told them that after 'Sanford and Son,' when I couldn't act anymore, I could use some screen credits to show."

Was he thinking about not being Fred Sanford in '75? No. In fact, he wanted to play the character for as long as he could. "As long as I'm physically able. I love Sanford because that's me. That's just Redd Foxx fifteen years from now," he added.

The love for the Norman Lear series didn't stop there. Foxx was proud of Fred Sanford and the message he sent to youngsters.

"I think 'Sanford and Son' has a message every week for youngsters. They see me try to con somebody every week and always lose."

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